Akwaeke Emezi can’t write a bad novel. They just CAN’T, y’all. Their debut novel, Freshwater, blew my freaking mind so much that I couldn’t WAIT for Pet, their YA utopian follow up. It’s all about Jam, who is a 15-year-old Nigerian American transgender girl living in a society that has been completely erased of all evils. Sounds great, right? Except, Jam learns that all the evil didn’t actually leave, and when she accidentally brings one of her mother’s paintings to life it’s up to them to destroy it.
This book was soooo good. That’s it. That’s my review. It was action packed but also gave you lots to think about. I loved all of the bits about good and evil, society, culture, and gender. We had characters who were trans non-binary and trans binary, characters who were polyamorous, and disabled. I love that we had representation for a character with selective mutism. Jam speaks primarily in sign language. I wrote down so many quotes from this book and I flew through it in one sitting. Some people have criticized the book for being written too young. Meaning it reads on the younger, more middle-grade side of young adult fiction. Personally, that didn’t bother me. The characters were interesting and made you care about them, the writing rocked, and I loved the philosophical bits. But Pet, the creature that Jam brings to life, was my favorite. Pet was broody, intelligent and wise, but also temperamental and shortsighted at times (IMO the best characters are). This is the perfect book for a good story but also something to think about.
*Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
By Jesse E